Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Why is WSU Law School ranked so poorly? Previous Next
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Belleislerunner
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Username: Belleislerunner

Post Number: 243
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 198.204.133.208
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not overly familiar with the nuances of the law school, but it always seems to be mentioned here as one of the better programs in the state. However, the 2007 US News & World Report Rankings rank it as a third tier school. 40% of applicants are admitted which doesn't lend to an acadmeically gifted pool of students.

Ranking
U.S. News rank: Tier 3
Wayne State University

Fall 2005 Admissions Statistics (Full-time Program)
Acceptance rate: 39.6%
LSAT scores (25th-75th percentile): 153-159

However, what was surprising to me was that the University of Toledo was ranked in the Top 100 law schools in the nation, and it's less than an hour from Detroit. They only admit 18% of students making them fairly selective.

University of Toledo
Ranking
U.S. News rank: 93

Fall 2005 Admissions Statistics (Full-time Program)
Acceptance rate: 18.8%
LSAT scores (25th-75th percentile): 155-162

Is WSU's law program only good in our heads? Why doesn't it seem to get any respect nationally?

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/e du/grad/rankings/law/brief/law rank_brief.php
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Drm
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Username: Drm

Post Number: 908
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.252.71.49
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

WSU is one of many law schools that place students predominately in local markets. There is nothing wrong with that, and WSU is a great bargain for those who want to work in the area. Different schools serve different needs.
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Rsa
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Username: Rsa

Post Number: 813
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.227.217.129
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

a more accurate measure of a law school's quality is the percentage of people that take the bar and pass. i can't remember the percentile, but i believe that wsu is usually ranked 2nd (after michigan).
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Everyman
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Username: Everyman

Post Number: 48
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 24.136.14.239
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Drm is correct in that different schools serve different needs.

However, WSU (and other schools) benefit locally from a sort of "familiarity = quality" perception. One reason is because it's local; people know others who have gone there and been successful and, anecdotally, it becomes a good school. Unfortunately, a lot of the lower schools are rackets, where if you're not at the top of your class you can get stuck doing insurance defense, med mal, or personal injury work.
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Everyman
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Username: Everyman

Post Number: 49
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 24.136.14.239
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh, and that mini-rant is directed more at Cooley than WSU (which actually places a number of grads in Detroit big/midlaw).

They should tear that schitt (Cooley) down. Something like a third of the class is flunked out after the school gets their money, and upon graduation not even the top of the class can get quality jobs without some sort of connection or nepotistic hiring practice.
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Drm
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Username: Drm

Post Number: 909
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.252.71.49
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

a more accurate measure of a law school's quality is the percentage of people that take the bar and pass.


Rsa, that is not true. Your statement is an argument made by lower-ranked schools when they whine about their ranking, as WSU does (or at least used to do) every year. Few people in the legal profession would agree with it.
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Rsa
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Username: Rsa

Post Number: 814
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.227.217.129
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

when do they re-rank schools? if it's anything like the accredidation for architecture schools, it's only every five years.

now, i'm not in the legal profession, so i'm only working on logic here. [i guess i shoulda stated that in above mentioned opinion] so, my experience in another professional educational atmosphere is guiding my logic on this. rankings are expensive to do, thus only happen every so often (and also allow enough time for a school to improve). acceptance rate, really is only a gauge of the popularity of a school, not necessarily of the quality of the program. who knows how many people drop out in the course of the program? it would seem that the ultimate test of a profession would be a fairly accurate gauge of how well they were educated.
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Everyman
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Username: Everyman

Post Number: 50
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 165.124.161.118
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:32 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The rankings come out every year around this time of year.

Best indicators of a school's quality:
- Reputation rankings (perceived quality of school in the profession)
- LSAT range (proxy for the "intellectual horsepower" for the incoming class)
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Czar
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Username: Czar

Post Number: 2999
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 129.137.186.217
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The U.S. News and World Report rankings are overrated, though colleges and universities kneel before each year's results. Selectivity plays a very significant role in their rankings process, so Wayne's 40% admission rate is a major strike against it.
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Warriorfan
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Username: Warriorfan

Post Number: 293
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.43.81.191
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 12:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wayne State's Medical School is the same way. It's not highly ranked by any means, but it is well-respected within the medical community and churns out excellent physicians. Keep in mind that Wayne State is competing with UofM for the best and brightest of the in-state students, and UofM always wins. I can think of few other professional schools that have to compete with such a highly-ranked public university in their own state.
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Gmich99
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Username: Gmich99

Post Number: 61
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 65.29.97.102
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a copy of the 2006 Rankings right beside me and there are schools on the top 100 list in 2006 that are no longer on the 2007 list and schools like Miami that shot up for no reason and schools like St. Louis that dropped a couple ranks for no apparant reason.

My personal thoughts on Waybe not being a top 100 is that no one outside our region knows where it is and its stats aren't high enough for people to assume great things.
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Belleislerunner
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Username: Belleislerunner

Post Number: 244
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 198.204.133.208
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Michigan residents who live in Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Monroe, Hillsdale or Lenawaee Counties get in state tuition at the University of Toledo Law School.

Would the University of Toledo Law School be a better choice academically than WSU? I know Toledo as a city, doesn't have the population of Detroit. Would recruiting be hampered?

Is it better to go to school in a city close to where you envision working, rather than a slighly better school in a more remote locale? Or does location of the law school trump rigor of the program? I've heard Scalia etc have lectured at UT within the past year. Assuming, of course, the Ivy Leagues of the world will draw recruiters anyway.

BTW - I'm asking out of pure curiosity. I already have my degrees.
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Gmich99
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Username: Gmich99

Post Number: 62
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 65.29.97.102
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 2:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have been advised that attending a law school in the region you want to practice is ideal, less of course you're accepted to a top ten law school that people all over the country know as being a first rank program. That said, I don't think it matters much between Toledo and Wayne. Toledo is only recently a top 100 school and could just as easily be back in the third tier next year. There are many UT law grads practicing in Michigan and plenty of Wayne grads practicing in Ohio.
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Thrice
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Username: Thrice

Post Number: 79
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 207.91.250.131
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 2:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did anyone get the 2007 US News and World report graduate school edtion?

It came out today.
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Gmich99
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Username: Gmich99

Post Number: 65
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 65.29.97.102
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 2:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No, where did Syracuse fall?
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Thrice
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Username: Thrice

Post Number: 80
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 207.91.250.131
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 2:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I just went to boarders and looked at it. (I'm not buying it for 11$ bucks, I'm a poor grad student)

It seems Wayne Law school has a great peer and judge review score for its tier (3rd) but it has a low bar pass rate. That coupled with the large class size (hence the higher admissions to fill the class becuase people will opt to go to tother schools) is keeping Wayne Law in the 3rd tier.

Oh, and US news and world report is fairly subjective measure.

Wayne Med school is usually in the 50-60 range (out of 126) But its NIH funding is 23rd in the nation.

(Message edited by thrice on March 31, 2006)
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Peanut_breath
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Username: Peanut_breath

Post Number: 128
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 66.73.225.162
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 3:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

but it has a low bar pass rate




My WSU law class in '04 had a MI bar passage rate in the high 80's. This is a very high rate nationally.
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Thrice
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Username: Thrice

Post Number: 81
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 207.91.250.131
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 4:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It was listed as 82% in US news and World report 2007.

It very few schools in the 3rd tier were lower...

(Message edited by thrice on March 31, 2006)
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Drm
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Username: Drm

Post Number: 910
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.252.5.237
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 6:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rsa, you're right, it sounds logical, but it's not. For one thing, every state has its own bar exam and there are often wide disparities in the overall percentage of people who pass each exam. Some states, such as California, only pass about half the people who sit for each exam. The other reason is that, no matter how smart a person is, or how great the program, no one leaves law school prepared to take the bar exam. Law schools don't teach you the sheer volume of knowledge that is required to pass the exam, nor do I think they should. Passing a bar exam is mostly about rote memorization of a bunch of law that you're going to forget anyway. Law school, on the other hand, is about skills that are necessary in the profession, such as how to "think like a lawyer" (to use a worn-out cliche), read caselaw, etc. I would hate to go to a law school that shortchanged these aspects in order to cram a bunch of black letter law into my head.

I have taken bar exams in several states, and what you need to know for the bar exam bears little relation to what you actually need to know in practice. I think the bar exam serves two purposes for the respective state bar associations: it decreases the number of lawyers in the state and allows the bar associations to claim to be protecting the public. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if they make a lot of money off of the exams, too.
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 1322
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 141.213.173.94
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 7:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wayne is pretty solidly #2 in the state, though. Third tier is pretty damn harsh.
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Spaceman_spiff
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Username: Spaceman_spiff

Post Number: 19
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 24.56.252.143
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mackinaw,
I agree that WSU is solidly #2 in the state. Its ranking reflects this, as there are four Michigan law schools in the fourth tier. I have discussed the U.S. News ranking system with many of my peers, professors and practicing lawyers. All of them have criticized the system used to some extent.
I find very little difference between the top law schools and even some of the 4th tier (check out MSU law).
Why are Michigan schools, except UofM, ranked so low?

RSA, I agree that the most significant factor, and the most objective, in the system is the bar passage rate.

-Spiff
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Gmich99
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Username: Gmich99

Post Number: 70
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 65.29.97.102
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the 2006 US News and World Report MSU is listed in the third tier. Did MSU fall in the 2007 edition? I would expect the MSU program to rise over the year because of its Big 10 name and funding. Also, it appears East and West Coast schools are over represented in the top 100 for all graduate programs given a large proportion of the country's population reside on either coast and the programs take into account reputation. New Yorkers and Californians I met while in Europe replied to my telling them I was from Detroit, with "Isn't that somewhere in the middle of the country?"
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 380
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 69.242.223.42
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For what it's worth - another LS rater, lawschool100.com, rates WSU in a twelve-place tie for 97th place, but as a Tier One.

[BTW, Ave Maria was in an eleven-place tie for 75th.]
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Gmich99
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Username: Gmich99

Post Number: 73
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 65.29.97.102
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

lawschool100.com looks about as accurate as US News & World Report.
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Rberlin
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Username: Rberlin

Post Number: 458
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 65.43.45.201
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, expect MSU to have an awesome rise in the ranking. DCL was low 4th tier, hanging with Cooley. Then they changed to MSU-DCL, suddenly they're a better school. Remove Detroit entirely from the name and they jumped a whole tier. Amazing.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3462
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ha, they are getting better because they are growing the school, not because of the name change. Nice try, though.
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Rberlin
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Username: Rberlin

Post Number: 459
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 65.43.45.201
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 7:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You're going to tell me that these survey style rankings don't rely on name recognition more than quality of education? I mean I know that the people polled are professionals and among the smartest in our society, but still, I can't expect them to know each about each school to objectively rank every law school in the nation.

I also doubt there are enough MSU Law graduates out there nation wide that the respondents to the survey would know MSU's education quality better than their basketball stats.

And thank you, I always try my best.
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Tortfeasor
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Username: Tortfeasor

Post Number: 435
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 69.209.168.72
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Actually, the size of MSU law is the reason the school is ranked low. Selectivity is a major factor in the USNews rankings, and MSU accepts too many students. On the other hand, reputation is another major factor in the rankings (reputation ranked by deans of other schools and by practicing attorneys/judges), and, therefore, it is likely that the name change will help the ranking.

Wayne State's ranking is fair for the style of school that it is. Most of the "lower" ranked schools focus on practical lawyering skills and produce more efficient lawyers out-of-the-box. The "higher" ranked schools tend to produce more intellectual lawyers better suited for complex research and writing. IMO - Wayne State focuses on the former.
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Arab_guyumich
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Username: Arab_guyumich

Post Number: 772
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 69.14.179.212
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:42 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I go to Wayne Law School. Recently, the administration has publicly commented on our low U.S. News rankings. Apparently our low employment figures were very crucial to our drop...alumni are not reporting back to the school when they get jobs, and when we don't get feedback for a grad, they are automatically considered "unemployed" by the U.S. News folks.

I'm sure there are other factors at play, but this one was specifically mentioned as a major problem. Also, I would definitely recommend Wayne over Toledo. Wayne is still a much better value, and our regional reputation trumps Toledo.

(Message edited by Arab_guyumich on April 01, 2006)
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Spartacus
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Username: Spartacus

Post Number: 107
Registered: 07-2005
Posted From: 209.114.251.65
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 11:32 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

WSU seems to do a pretty decent job educating students. The problem they have is attracting quality students. Would you want to go there if you lived outside of Michigan? Its pretty hard for commuter schools to attract out of state students. That severely limits their talent pool. It creates a viscious cycle too. WSU does not have much of a reputation outside of Michigan, this further discourages out of staters from considering the school. This, in turn, makes it difficult for WSU to establish a reputation outside of the region.

Take the rankings with a grain of salt. They use objective criteria in part, but the weight of the objective criteria is completely subjective.

If you want to stay in the Detroit area Wayne is a solid school and IMO #2 in the state. Bar passage rates are not a good guage of a school's success for some of the reasons cited above. Your law school has done you a tremendous disservice if they train you to pass the bar.
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Drm
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Username: Drm

Post Number: 913
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.220.69.40
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 12:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with Spartacus, but the rankings are very important if your ambition is to work at a big firm in a major market, clerk for the Supreme Court, become a law professor at a top school, etc. You don't need to buy the publication though since the same schools are traditionally top-ranked, although the actual ranking varies from year-to-year: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYU, Michigan, Berkeley, Columbia, etc. In those cases, don't worry about the survey methodology, just go to the highest ranked school you are able to. If your LSAT and GPA aren't good enough for the top 20 schools, then you should probably take another look at your goals.

If you want to work at a firm in the Detroit market, WSU is a bargain. If you do well, you'll get a job and owe little in student loan debt.

If you can get into Michigan and live in-state, it's also a bargain and it will provide you more options.

If the only place you can get into is Cooley, you might as well spend that money on lottery tickets.
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 3888
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.174.235
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 5:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No wonder lots of college folks want to Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI.
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Rberlin
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Username: Rberlin

Post Number: 460
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 65.43.45.201
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 6:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One thing that bugs me about MSU is: how does a public university wholly own a private college? I understand that MSU Law has separate funding from MSU and doesn't receive state aid, and that MSU has many good reasons to want to keep MSU Law private. Yet, it still doesn't seem like it would be entirely legal.
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 424
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 207.200.116.139
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 7:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm tempted to start a thread on lawyer jokes, but I suspect some forumers would sue me if'n I did, so I won't. :-)
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The_rock
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Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1084
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 7:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't even THINK about it '36. There is a new ( rather humerous, actually) book out called "Lowering The Bar" which pretty well covers the gammit.
Now, a book on travel counselors---there would be a best seller.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3465
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rberlin, being that it is a law school, I'm pretty sure that MSU owning it is not illegal, if even they had to find loopholes, if that is the case. I don't know, though.

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